Myanmar Speaker Series: What is the road to improving health services in ethnic states?

October 21, 2020.

Myanmar is undergoing a transition from military to civilian rule since 2011 and government expenditure on health has increased from 1% in 2010 to 3.4% in 2015, still one of the lowest in the Asia-Pacific region. Though health sector decentralization is said to be put in place, the progress so far has not been assessed. There is limited information on how resources are managed and how well is decentralization progressing. The current system favors top-down decision-making, creating vast gaps of expectations between decision-makers and communities in states/regions, townships and villages/wards. In ethnic states, the delivery of health service remains unequal and insufficient due to poor governance, limited budgets, outdated facilities, and lack of supplies and health staff. Moreover, in such resource-poor setting, the gap between community expectations and what service providers can actually offer remains enormous, and needs to be closed.

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Myanmar Speaker Series: Can Decentralization Improve Education in Myanmar ?

October 1, 2020

Following the start of the country’s various reforms in 2011, public funding for education has significantly increased, leading to an important rise in access. The primary net enrollment rate increased from 88% in 2009-10 to 93 percent in 2014-15. Net enrollment in pre-primary education saw an impressive growth between 2008 – when roughly 1 in 20 children were enrolled – and 2014 when nearly 1 in 4 children were enrolled. The National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) 2016-21 represents an important milestone for education in Myanmar, as the country’s very first education sector plan in the context of a major transition towards democracy.

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Myanmar Speaker Series: What Does the Latest Peace Conference Mean for Myanmar? An Update

September 23, 2020.

The Government of Myanmar and the Ethnic Armed Organizations are key parties to a formal Peace Process. They have been negotiating ‘basic federal as well as democratic’ principles for the country. In October 2015, all parties agreed that these principles would constitute the Union Accord, the basis to amend all laws–including the 2008 Constitution. Under the current government (2015-2020), no major constitutional change has taken place. The Peace Process remains the most plausible path to amend the constitution, end the armed conflict and lead to a multi-ethnic, federal and democratic Myanmar.

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Myanmar Speaker Series: Women and Conflict in Myanmar Can elections bring a relief?

Myanmar is home to several minority ethnic groups seeking political, economic, cultural, and social recognition. In these pursuits, conflict has erupted and sustained for decades–as one of the world’s longest–manifesting in a variety of forms. Within these conflicts, the gendered impacts are multi-faceted and disproportionately tolling upon women and girls. As Myanmar heads to the polls again this year, violence could again re-emerge, keeping in mind that “Gender inequities exacerbate experiences of conflict, and responses that do not incorporate gender analysis exacerbate inequities”.

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Myanmar Speaker Series: Will 2020 Elections Increase Myanmar’s Decentralization?

June 17, 2020. Dr. Alex Pelletier & Dr. Jacques Bertrand.

Myanmar’s 2008 Constitution established a more decentralized structure, with partially elected sub-national governments with new financial and administrative functions. Since the 2011 transition and the 2015 civilian-led rule, the Myanmar government continues the working with the 2008 Constitution–rather than replacing it—while pledging to decentralize key areas of policy to local and state governments. As the 2020 election looms now in the horizon, it is time to take stock of how decentralization has advanced in the country.

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